The Washington Post Newspaper Guild is outraged by the abrupt announcement today that Washington Post Express will close and 20 of our friends and colleagues will be laid off.
This announcement came the day before operations ceased, with no advance warning.
These employees, many of them young women, performed the same jobs as other staff in our newsroom for substantially lesser pay. They published our journalism, and we published theirs. They were excluded from a union contract that would have protected them only by legal and bureaucratic fictions that labeled them a different entity within our company, though Post Express and The Washington Post are both owned by Jeff Bezos, the richest person in the world.
Earlier this year, a number of Express employees recognized this disparity and explored unionizing — and they had not given up on that hope. When these layoffs came, without a union, our colleagues in Express were not guaranteed the same protections as guild-covered Washington Post employees.
They were called into a meeting midday on Wednesday with management, where they were informed their jobs were being eliminated and that Washington Post Express would cease publication Thursday. An announcement from the company about the layoffs was posted online before Express employees left the meeting or could notify their loved ones.
Then our Express colleagues returned to their desks to do what Express has done for 16 years: they put together a paper.
We hope Washington Post management will honor this dedication to our journalistic mission and find employment in our newsroom for our colleagues now without jobs.
The Post Guild is determined to ensure that employees at this company are treated with fairness, dignity and respect. We seek to represent all Post workers and encourage every employee not currently covered by our contract who thinks they should be to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.